French Open

Stosur off to a flyer

2011-05-22 15:13
Samantha Stosur (AFP)

Paris - Australia's Samantha Stosur said on Sunday that returning to the scene of last year's French Open final defeat had inspired her to go just as deep into the competition again.

The eighth seed, beaten by Italy's Francesca Schiavone in the 2010 decider, swept past Czech Iveta Benesova 6-2, 6-3 on Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a second-round meeting with Romanian teenager Simona Halep.

Despite being broken in her opening service game, Stosur was rarely troubled in the 68-minute match and said she had high hopes of recapturing the form that took her to her first ever Grand Slam final 12 months ago.

"There weren't quite as many people this time," the 27-year-old quipped when asked about the differences between Saturday's match and last year's final.

"It was a nice feeling. I obviously thought of last year's match, but it was nice to get out there again. Of course, if you could play on any court here, you'd want to play on that one."

Stosur is bidding to reach the last four at Roland Garros for the third summer in a row but said she did not feel under any extra pressure to do so.

"I don't think I have to necessarily prove anything," she said.

"Having made the semis (in 2009) and the final, I think that proves that I've been able to back it up and that it wasn't a fluke the first time.

"Of course I'd love to go a little bit further this year but I think it's more just wanting to achieve that, rather than, 'I have to do it,' because of x, y and z."

Beaten by Russia's Maria Sharapova in the Rome Masters final earlier this month, Stosur says she is pleased with her current form on clay.

"Overall I'm getting better and better," she said.

"I hope I'm becoming a better player, a more complete player as each year goes on. This time last year I played some of the best matches of my career and hopefully I can do that again this week."

Stosur crossed paths with Halep in last year's tournament, beating her 7-5, 6-1 in the first round.

The 19-year-old Romanian reached the second round in impressive fashion, however, thrashing Russia's Alla Kudryavtseva 6-2, 6-1, and Stosur believes the world No 67 is likely to prove a more obdurate obstacle this time around.

"I haven't seen her play since last year so I guess I'll have to remember what that was like," said the Brisbane-born star.

"She's come a long way since that time. I think she was a qualifier last year and now she's directly in. I think she's around 60 or so (in the world ranking), so she's improving. I'll definitely have to be on my game."

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